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Old 06-15-2011, 07:31 PM   #1
wcmartell
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Default Sequels Aren't Doing Well

Box Office Mojo has an article on how sequels are not doing well so far this year, the exception being FAST FIVE which has sold more tickets than any other film in the series.

http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3186&p=.htm

Does this mean more "need" for original screenplays? Or will they just begin remaking last year's remakes instead of making sequels?

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Old 06-15-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

Well, that depends on if you count overseas BO, Pirates 4 has made almost a billion so far.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

The article compares the sequels to other films in the series - so even though PIRATES 4 has made a pile of money ($900m), it is still behind 2 & 3. One of the issues with sequels is that each tends to cost more to make than the last, and if they don't make more than the last one they reach that point where they don't make sense any more. PIRATES 5 probably makes sense, but most of the others on the list don't make sense to continue. Which is great - no more Martin Lawrence in drag!

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Old 06-15-2011, 07:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

Some of those not performing well give me the impression that everyone in the process is just going through the motions to put out a follow-up product with nothing new for the audience from the previous endeavor.

Often a sequel just changes the setting and the villain...but how about a new theme and character arc?? I know they are summer popcorn movies, but to me they'd feel a little more 'complete' if they explored a new thematic issue instead of just moving the location to Thailand or Brazil.


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Old 06-15-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

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Originally Posted by RogerOThornhill View Post
Some of those not performing well give me the impression that everyone in the process is just going through the motions to put out a follow-up product with nothing new for the audience from the previous endeavor.

Often a sequel just changes the setting and the villain...but how about a new theme and character arc?? I know they are summer popcorn movies, but to me they'd feel a little more 'complete' if they explored a new thematic issue instead of just moving the location to Thailand or Brazil.


R.O.T.
Yep (we need a thumbs-up smilie)

The thing about these sequels is the money they pour into them. Think of all the nice little original stories they could have made with that moolah. "Just gimme a few development dollars for my little art film!"

May have launched a NEW franchise, for heaven's sake!

I wrote and am still pitching a trilogy I finished in April, but the stories cover three decades and are 15 years apart. It made for arcs and themes and yarns that were different yet tied together, with the same (hopefully) beloved characters.

The way they do these sequels is, typically, afterthought, where it seems to come down to the execs pre-deciding a massive budget, getting the actors to reprise, and then pushing out a cornball treatment composed on a napkin onto some name writer -- because we don't want to blame the writers, correct -- and expecting something different.

Nada.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

The problem is they have no idea which films are going to be hits and which will flop, so if they *plan* on sequels - like with GOLDEN COMPASS and PERCY JACKSON and many others - the films flop and that's that. Sometimes the story is cut short (because it was part of a larger story) and we will never find out how it all ends.

Actually, I think they could have a better idea of what's going to work and what won't, but they tend to jump on bandwagons and decide that some element that really doesn't matter (based on existing material, etc) is more important than the (weak) story. But everyone these days is following the leader and no one is actually leading.

But when an original script does become a hit film, chances are they will hire different writers for the sequel - which can be a good thing, because the new writers can bring new ideas to the series. EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is a great example of this. On HANG2 Craig was not one of the writers of the first film, those two guys didn't come back for some reason (they have another original script coming out this year, though). Heck, there's a sequel to CRASH DIVE that I had nothing to do with, and 4 sequels to INVISIBLE MOM that I had nothing to do with - though I pitched stories for MOM 2... they just didn't like them. I wanted to do something *slightlly* different and they wanted the same exact story with cosmetic changes. But whether it's the producers or studio or new writers - Martin Lawrence still has to go undercover as a fat woman. The idea that maybe there's a different disguise that is equally funny isn't considered... more follow the leader.

This year has more sequels than any other (I think) and the problem eventually becomes - we get the "universal" part but not the "unique" part... and if there are not enough original or new projects there's nothing to sequel next year.

Just as I think studios should all have a $10m division making 20 films a year, they should also create some % for original material that gets made every year so that they have a chance at future sequels... and new material that the studio owns that isn't based on some other material that they do not own. Hard for a studio to make money off toys if the film is based on an existing toy.

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

Meanwhile, Done Deal just posted a Reporter story on Face Book about JURASSIC PARK 4.

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Old 06-15-2011, 10:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

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Originally Posted by wcmartell View Post
...Hard for a studio to make money off toys if the film is based on an existing toy...
I haven't seen the movie, but just what IS that strange thing that comes out of the Green Lantern toy's right hand?!
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

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Originally Posted by wcmartell View Post
The problem is they have no idea which films are going to be hits and which will flop, so if they *plan* on sequels - like with GOLDEN COMPASS and PERCY JACKSON and many others - the films flop and that's that. Sometimes the story is cut short (because it was part of a larger story) and we will never find out how it all ends.

Actually, I think they could have a better idea of what's going to work and what won't, but they tend to jump on bandwagons and decide that some element that really doesn't matter (based on existing material, etc) is more important than the (weak) story. But everyone these days is following the leader and no one is actually leading.

But when an original script does become a hit film, chances are they will hire different writers for the sequel - which can be a good thing, because the new writers can bring new ideas to the series. EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is a great example of this. On HANG2 Craig was not one of the writers of the first film, those two guys didn't come back for some reason (they have another original script coming out this year, though). Heck, there's a sequel to CRASH DIVE that I had nothing to do with, and 4 sequels to INVISIBLE MOM that I had nothing to do with - though I pitched stories for MOM 2... they just didn't like them. I wanted to do something *slightlly* different and they wanted the same exact story with cosmetic changes. But whether it's the producers or studio or new writers - Martin Lawrence still has to go undercover as a fat woman. The idea that maybe there's a different disguise that is equally funny isn't considered... more follow the leader.

This year has more sequels than any other (I think) and the problem eventually becomes - we get the "universal" part but not the "unique" part... and if there are not enough original or new projects there's nothing to sequel next year.

Just as I think studios should all have a $10m division making 20 films a year, they should also create some % for original material that gets made every year so that they have a chance at future sequels... and new material that the studio owns that isn't based on some other material that they do not own. Hard for a studio to make money off toys if the film is based on an existing toy.

- Bill
Good points. I also think that in a sea of sequels and reboots (of which the audience is bored with) then there is going to be a drop off. I mean, gone are the days when you got a trilogy over 6 years, like Superman and Star Wars, and then that's it. Fast, Potter and Pirates have been going for a decade now. Even if the film is new the content isn't - we already know these guys inside out.

So a sea of sequels, a need for mega money (see my other post on a need to reduce production costs) and not enough customers to spread across all films then some are going to suffer.

Then add to this an assault on the senses by special effects, over the same time period, the like of which we have never witnessed before, and you end up with severely jaded customers. And people like me who are sick of bad CGI that looks like it came from an Xbox game. But when people are no longer wowed by the FX, all you have left is the story, and that's where most fall down - because the studios invested in the teen star and the visuals rather than story and then had 15 execs hovering around trying to get their ideas into the film.

There needs to be a studio overhaul: lower salaries, lower budgets, less executives (which means less interference). The latter is especially true, executives for the sake of being executives are clogging up the system and adding an extra cack handed cook to the broth. Low cost, streamlined, efficient. But it will never happen because turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

And I am not a drama snob. I love action and special FX so when you see me bemoan the lack of content and too much X you know the situation is dire!

Last edited by 1mper1um : 06-16-2011 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sequels Aren't Doing Well

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I also think that in a sea of sequels and reboots (of which the audience is bored with)...
Exactly. Nobody wants a sequel to EVERY movie. Nobody wants a remake of EVERY movie. Nobody wants EVERY movie in 3D. The only people that think these are good ideas are the suits who are making money from it. If remakes make money, there will be many remakes. If sequels make money, even the remakes will have sequels. If 3D makes money, the remakes of the sequels will be in 3D. Hell, if tight specs start making money, we might all be paid writers. But the fact is that money ALWAYS comes first, and that's fucking bullshit.

I understand that it's a business, but I also understand greed. No other business in the history of existence has disregarded product quality the way H-wood does. That's a fact. Any suit in the business would shoot his own kid to make a buck, and film it if he could make an extra fifty cents.
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